Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) Surgery in Seattle, WA
Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is a less invasive form of spinal fusion surgery. “Anterior” refers to the surgeon’s approach– through the front. Accessing the spine through the front of the body means that no back muscles need to be dissected, resulting in a faster, easier recovery with less pain. The use of an additional spinal access surgeon is necessary to provide safe exposures so that Dr. Edward Jung can perform the ALIF.
What Happens During ALIF?
An incision is made in the front of the spine. The type of incision is based on the location to be address. The L5-S1 segment can often be addressed through a horizontal C-section type incision versus the segments above that require a vertical incision below and possible around the belly button. The access surgeon will then provide visualization of the affected disc by retracting the abdominal muscles, organs and blood vessels. Once visualized and confirmed with intraoperative X-Ray, the damaged disc material is removed. A spacer is then placed between the vertebrae to maintain alignment, provide indirect decompression, and serve as a conduit for the fusion. Often a metal plate is placed provide stability and to prevent migration of the graft.
There are several benefits to ALIF and Mini ALIF over traditional posterior approaches to spinal fusion surgery.
- With an anterior approach, the back muscles are not cut, making your recovery significantly easier and less painful.
- With a Mini ALIF, the abdominal muscles are not cut, reducing your recovery time even further.
- Spinal nerves that need to be manipulated for a posterior approach (PLIF) are not affected during ALIF.
- ALIF provides the greatest surface area for fusion and greatest ability to restore height and alignment.
Am I A Candidate for ALIF?
Dr. Edward Jung will work with you diligently to determine your best treatment options. We will take the time to educate you and answer your questions. He believes in engaging our patients to empower them to make the best decision to suit their condition.
To see if you are a candidate for an ALIF or to learn your options for lumbar surgery, please contact Dr. Edward Jung at (425) 823-4000 and schedule an in-office consultation.